Let's take a break from discussing scientific writing to consider some other concerns that PIs occasionally encounter and must respond to.
Today, I came across the following question in an e-zine for Principal Investigators:
One of my lab technicians has begun talking to himself and has become very argumentative. Several of my staff have confided they are worried he is developing a mental disorder--and thus we could be heading for some episode of "workplace violence". As PI and his supervisor, may I legally interview him about these personality changes? Should I? If I refer the matter to our institute's Human Resources department, could the technician accuse me of "defamation of character"? Do I have any duty to do something or anything?
If you are a PI, how would you handle this? If you are a technician, post-doc, or student working in a lab with such a person, what would you do, if anything? What would you want the PI and/or HR do?